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Teardown: Deconstructing Valve's Steam Machine

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If last month’s round of next-gen console launches left you in a fog, prepare yourself for the incoming Steam Machine. Valve has released only 300 beta kits into the wild, so grab your companion cube and hold tight -- we’re about to open one up.

Taiwan auxiliary equipment firm Shini builds plant in India

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Taiwanese auxiliary equipment maker Shini Group is relocating to a bigger location in early 2014, moving out of rented space into a new site it says will be eight times larger. The move for the Taipei-based company will take place by the end of January or early February.
"Currently, we have a production facility in Vasai in the Thane district. The new plant is coming up at Chaken in Pune," said J.N. Bhat, managing director of Shini Plastics Technologies India Pvt. Ltd., at the Plastivision 2013 at Mumbai. 

Wittmann Battenfeld to expand Chennai plant production in 2014

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MUMBAI -- Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH is rapidly expanding its product range in India, with its operation in Chennai about to introduce an upgraded range of dryers for 2014.
The ongoing slowdown has not hurt business, said Nanda Kumar, president of Wittmann Battenfeld India Pvt. Ltd., in an interview at Plastivision Mumbai 2013. 

Sacmi to double press capacity in India

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Milan, Italy-based Sacmi Group is moving ahead with plans to assemble Negri Bossi injection presses in India. The company bought 12 acres of land in Sanand, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, to set-up its own new facility. Sanand is a major hub for India's auto industry.
“Currently, we are operating from rented premises in Ahmedabad and land has been taken to build a new factory in Sanand,” said V. Ramesh, CEO of Sacmi Engineering India Pvt. Ltd., at the Plastivision 2013 show in Mumbai. Once the new plant is ready by the middle of 2014, the Ahmedabad operation will move to the new location. 

Amcor acquires Constar US assets

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PACKAGING giant Amcor has agreed to acquire the United States assets of Constar International Holdings for a sum still to be finalised. Constar, which makes plastic food and drink containers in the US and Europe, has filed for bankruptcy in the US.
Amcor said in a statement on Friday that the US business of Constar operates six plants, with annual sales of about $US190 million.Amcor said the assets were an attractive fit with Amcor's rigid plastics business. 

Sidel’s new PET water bottle sheds some weight

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Sidel believes when it comes to the bottled water market, it's all about the "right weight." The company recently introduced a new 0.5 liter PET bottle for still water called appropriately enough, RightWeight.
"Beverage producers are increasingly striving to unlock the value of a PET bottle across their entire supply chain, from concept to consumer," said Christophe Bunel, head of packaging care & development at Sidel. "To achieve this, a bottle must be lighter, of course, but also stay attractive, protect the beverage and ensure high consumer satisfaction. At Sidel we call this 'rightweighting'." 

Cosmos signs licensing deal with Ube Machinery

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Hong Kong-based Cosmos Machinery Ltd. is poised to boost it all-electric injection press business with a freshly inked agreement to license technology from Japan’s Ube Machinery Corp. Ltd.
The company’s subsidiary Cosmos Machinery Technology (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd. held a signing ceremony last week at its East China production base in Wuxi. 
Cosmos currently offers all-electric presses in the range of 55 to 205 tons. The company told Plastics News that new models of 355 to 455 tons are in the works and are scheduled to be released to the market by 2014. Cosmos said it restarted its all-electric machine R&D program around 2000. 

Toymakers battle for supremacy

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Forget the most wonderful time of the year. For Mattel and Hasbro, it’s the most stressful. The toy giants are entering the holiday season — which accounts for a whopping 40 percent of their annual revenue — trying to win a larger piece of a limited market.
According to estimates by Euromonitor, the U.S toy market has generated sales ranging from $17 billion to $20 billion between 1998 and 2012, fluctuating between growth and decline any given year. In 2013, it’s forecast to be worth $19.9 billion. 

Plastic banknotes: the implications for security, dealers and magicians

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The Bank of England will follow in the footsteps of Canada, Australia and Hong Kong today when it announces the move to plastic banknotes starting in 2016.
Bank officials have been on a shopping centre roadshow testing the prototype polymer notes among members of the public and looking for approval of money they say is cleaner, longer lasting and harder to counterfeit. 

Michelman enters joint venture with Maruyoshi Chemical

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Fiber sizing specialist Michelman (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA) reported on Dec. 16 that it has established a joint venture with Maruyoshi Chemical Co. Ltd. (Gifu, Japan), a developer and manufacturer of specialty waterborne polyolefin emulsions, and chemical trading company. Maruyoshi Chemical has separated its manufacturing business from the chemical trading business with the joint venture involving only the manufacturing business. 

Canadean forecasts lightweight packaging trend to boost US plastics consumption

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A new report from Canadean says continued growth in demand for lightweight plastic packaging will be a key trend in the US retail market leading up to 2017.
In its report, Latest Trends and Key Issues in the US Retail Packaging Market 2013, the market research company says American consumers will be using 32,850 million more rigid plastic and flexible packs in 2017 than they were in 2012, making these “the fastest-growing segments in the US packaging industry”. 

JCI investing $16.9 million to expand two plants in Michigan

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Johnson Controls Inc. will invest $16.9 million to expand two of its JCIM auto interiors plants near Monroe, Mich.
Michigan officials announced the project at two JCIM sites in Frenchtown Township, saying that the company — with automotive offices based in Plymouth, Mich. — decided to expand there rather than at competing sites in Ohio. 

Trade deal to ease regulations on importing plastics

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) has struck a global deal that should ease import and customs procedures that can hold up the delivery of plastics, raw materials and plastic products to export customers.
The agreement on trade facilitation was agreed by a WTO ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, which wrapped up at the end of last week. 

Company that cleans laundry with plastic beads joins sustainability group

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Sheffield, England-based Xeros Ltd. has developed a method for cleaning clothes that largely replaces water with polymer beads. According to the company, its washing machines use 70 percent less water, 50 percent less energy and 50 percent less detergent than traditional appliances.
In order to promote the green clothing message, Xeros has joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), which also includes Adidas, Burberry, Coca-Cola and Levi Strauss. 

Crash-test dummy maker sees sale as smart move for growth

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Plymouth Township, Mich.-based crash-test dummy maker Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc. is on a collision course with growth and wants to make the impact count.
Humanetics, its parent company Safety Technology Holdings Inc., and its subsidiaries HITEC Sensor Solutions Inc. and Sensor Developments Inc., were sold last week to San Francisco-based private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. 

Radici resins used in World Cup seats

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Safety at the 2014 World Cup finals is uppermost in people’s minds after an accident last month in which two people died when a crane collapsed at the São Paulo stadium which is due to host the opening ceremony.
The plastic seating at major football venues include flame retardants to reduce the risk of a fire spreading, and that will be the case at Brazil’s stadiums next year. Italian engineering plastics supplier RadiciGroup said six of the 12 stadiums have seating made of its flame retardant Radiflam range of nylon 6 materials. 

JM Eagle reminds customers of 50-year pipe warranty, vows court appeal

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JM Eagle emailed a letter Thursday to customers, telling them to rest assured North America’s largest pipe extruder stands behind its products with a 50-year warranty and will rigorously defend its reputation in court.
Last month a federal jury found the Los Angeles-based company guilty of violating the False Claims Act in a whistleblower case brought by a fired production assurance engineer and 45 government entities.

Machinery firms feature in-mold labels at K 2013

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t K 2013, 32 exhibitors used in-mold labels from Verstraeta IML of Maldegem, Belgium. And 16 processing machines ran the labels.
The exhibitors included Roroplas, Arburg, Well-Lih, Wetec, Star Automation and Stork. 
Vertraete’s peelable IML label is easy to remove from the package, so the customer can reuse a neutral package.

Colorants deal creating $400 million firm

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Less than two years after its own formation, Chromaflo Technologies is merging with CPS Color BV's colorants business to create a global color and pigment dispersion firm with annual sales of more than $400 million.
The combination "is a perfect fit of two players in different segments of the colorants industry," Scott Becker, CEO of Ashtabula, Ohio-based Chromaflo, said in a Dec. 3 news release. 

Milacron acquisition boosts extrusion aftermarket business

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Milacron LLC is boosting its extrusion services with the acquisition of American Extrusion Services Inc., of Springboro, Ohio.
Terms of the deal were not released.
"What we are looking for is to enhance the service capabilities for our customers. They have 25 years of experience, good relationships with their customers, so it really adds to our ability to serve our customers," said Dean Roberts, president of Milacron's Aftermarket division, in a conference call.

Suction cups handle curved parts

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IPA GmbH’s new Varioflex suction cups are dual-durometer cups, improved units that are used by automotive supplier Tanne Kunststofftechnik.
Tanne makes automotive interior parts, and the company was having problems with its suction cups that did not create the necessary suction force when removing the curved injection molded part from the mold undercut. 

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Product reviews

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